I read an interesting article – Rethinking the Midmarket, by Aaron Ricadella, in InformationWeek (September 12, 2005, p. 53-58) [Available at InformationWeek], outlines Microsoft’s proposed strategy to target midsize companies. As noted by Ricadella, “Microsoft is making a big strategic shift in its 5- year-old business-applications division toward a simple but so-far elusive idea: Different kinds of workers use computers differently, and software should be designed for an employee’s role in the company. After two years of research, Microsoft managers have identified more than 50 everyday job roles at midsize companies they believe will benefit from desktop environments created just for them–everyone from a president or CFO to account managers in a sales department to workers on a manufacturing floor. Receptionists, too, get a unique data view on their PCs…” Workers will benefit from getting access to information they care about, rather than being inundated with all organizational information. Microsoft also plans to simplify its ERP software and make it more accessible to midsize companies. And finally, software may actually be designed to meet the challenges of current work environments. As noted in Ricadella’s article, “To understand the jobs people do at midsize companies, Microsoft’s engineers and managers spent two years studying their workdays in excruciating detail, recording their conversations, snapping photos of people at their desks, and generating 15,000 pages of transcripts. The conclusion: Most workers don’t like their software, because it forces them to work with business automation and personal-productivity apps that are often incompatible. In other words, today’s business software doesn’t look like today’s business…”

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